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What are they doing all day in Paris anyway? Forum / What are they doing all day in Paris anyway? /  

World Heritage: Science and Technology. An Expert Workshop

Author Solivagant
#1 | Posted: 1 Jul 2008 18:20 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Well one of the things they are doing is travelling the world enjoying little "jollies" like this one!! 3 Days in London 21-23 Jan 2008 for :-
"World Heritage: Science and Technology. An Expert Workshop in the Framework of the Global Strategy for a Balanced and Representative World Heritage List"
There is apparently a whole sub culture of such persons who make a (very pleasant?) living out of attending sessions like this! Did you know that there is a "Thematic Initiative on Astronomy and World Heritage" and indeed an "Astronomy and World Heritage Official Focal Point in Bulgaria"?

The list of 45 attendees came from, inter alia, Sweden, Egypt, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Japan and India (Quite a Carbon Footprint for that lot to reach London!). To be fair there were only 2 from the "World Heritage Centre" in Paris but UK politicians and "Civil Servants" were well to the fore! As well as representatives from ICOMOS and IUCN the Academic world was well represented by such luminaries as the "Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy, University of Leicester".

This "initiative" arose out of the miserable failure of the 2007 UK proposal for inscription "Darwin at Down". UK has often been a trailblazer for new initiatives in World Heritage. Not all the trails have been successful!!
The failure of The Lake District proposals in 1987 and 1990 led to the acceptance of "Cultural Landscapes" as potential World Heritage (another nice subject to be an "expert" on!) - but the UK's Lake District still isn't inscribed
The Failure of SS Great Britain lin 1988 led to .....? Well "Moveable objects" still cannot be inscribed
The Failure of "Dawin at Down" in 2007 led to .... well this "Workshop".
Don't ask what it concluded!! Even though my taxes paid for it I can't find out as the "Expert Workshop Recommendations" are an "internal working paper until further notice"! (6 months after the event - but perhaps they will emerge during the WHC in Canada?)

Some of the papers are quite interesting. Some others are so thin on substance and novelty that you wonder why they came all that way to give them!!
You can see them on

Author Solivagant
#2 | Posted: 10 Aug 2008 09:41 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I note that the report from this Expert meeting is among the Quebec papers

As far as I can see we still don't have the minutes of the Quebec meeting (??) so we don't know how it was received.

It seems sensible enough - but as I read it I don't see great hope for "Darwin at Downe" -despite UK having suggested (and paid for!) this meeting with the intention of using it to provide the means to get "Darwin at Downe" back on track. The meeting has concluded that many sites relating to "scientific heritage" will not have enough "tangible" remains and seems insisitant that such a link should be maintained for a site to be inscribed as a WHS. Indeed it suggests that ways OTHER than WHS inscription should be adopted by countries wanting to recognise such heritage. It toys with the idea of allowing Criterion vi ("Be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of OUV") to be used by itself but ultimately steers away from this.

The crunch paragraph for Darwin at Downe seems to me to be "The EWG noted that the World Heritage List is not primarily a means to commemorate famous individuals, and alternative means should be considered for recognition in most cases".

YET, as I understand it UK is STILL proposing to resubmit Darwin at Downe ( ), having pushed back all the nominations after 2009 (Pont-Cysyllte Aqueduct) to achieve this - in particular Monkwearmouth and Jarrow Monastic Sites.
All I can say is "watch this space". As previously identified on this site, UK already "wastes" opportunities to make nominations by not not following the "1 Cultural plus 1 Natural p.a." route as eg France does. It really would seem excessively profligate to waste 2 years worth of nominations on "Darwin at Downe"! I wonder what is it about this site which makes the UK government so keen on pursuing it? If it had been inscribed as planned in 2007 it would have been in time for the 200th annniversary of Darwin's birth in April 2009 - and I suspect that was a major factor in its selection and original timing. But as this has been missed whatever, there seems almost a pigheadedness in the determination to continue with this nomination - and Monkwearmouth and Jarrow doesn't exactly seems the strongest/most original site on the UK T list either!

What are they doing all day in Paris anyway? Forum / What are they doing all day in Paris anyway? /
 World Heritage: Science and Technology. An Expert Workshop

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